Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-11-27

2012-11-27

Heems: Wild Water Kingdom (Greedhead download, 2012) Flushing is in the F'ing house--namechecking Quaker hegemony resister John Bowne and college-bound bus route Kissena Boulevard, Himanshu Suri is my Cherry Avenue homeboy. And although more far-out referents might arguably block my passway to his freewheeling freestyles, subcontinental beats like Keyboard Kid's electro-Carnatic "Let It Go" and Harry Fraud's serpent-charming "Wild Water Kingdom" mean to create a world of fun for everyone: "When Heema rappin'/This is what happen/Everybody foot gets to tappin'/Everybody dance like they Latin/Everybody clothes turn to silk and to satin/Everybody metal turn from silver to platinum/Everybody set like director said action." Climaxed by a love song to an r&b also-ran whose first name rhymes with Tone-Loc's favorite love potion, this jumpy tribute to substance exploitation may be his gangsta album. But it comes with a PSA: "Don't do drugs. They're bad for you, they make you feel strange, your friends won't love you anymore." A-

Kool A.D.: 51 (Greedhead download, 2012) Heems's Das Racist partner favors skinnier, more electro beats, most by his Bay Area compadre Amaze 88, which he loops under raps that carry more weight on this April mixtape than they did on The Palm Wine Drinkard just a few months before--as do the cameos from Mr. Rogers and a chipmunked Huey P. Newton. True, the record shudders to a virtual halt when the ecumenical auteur turns beatmaker midway through, and some may judge the rhymes irresponsibly playful. But he's right about "Yo these girls are smart man/I'm trying to figure out how to play my part man/I don't know how to start man/The strangest organ is the human heart man/Fuck with shortcuts like I'm Robert Altman/Fuck with long shots like I'm Robert Altman/Fuck with actresses like I'm Robert Altman/Recycled like half a verse but that's art man." That is art. B+

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